The polybromo-associated PBAF (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complex, which includes PBRM1, ARID2, and BRD7, regulates cell differentiation and genomic integrity. MUC1-C is an oncogenic protein that drives lineage plasticity in prostate cancer (PC) progression. The present work demonstrates that MUC1-C induces PBRM1, ARID2, and BRD7 expression by the previously unrecognized E2F1-mediated activation of their respective promoters. The functional significance of the MUC1-C→PBAF pathway is supported by demonstrating involvement of MUC1-C in associating with nuclear PBAF and driving the NRF2 antioxidant gene transcriptome in PC cells. Mechanistically, MUC1-C forms a complex with NRF2 and PBRM1 on the NRF2 target SLC7A11 gene that encodes the xCT cystine-glutamate antiporter, increases chromatin accessibility and induces SLC7A11/xCT expression. We also show that MUC1-C and PBRM1 are necessary for induction of other NRF2 target genes, including G6PD and PGD that regulate the pentose phosphate pathway. Our results further demonstrate that MUC1-C integrates activation of PBRM1 with the regulation of antioxidant genes, ROS levels, pluripotency factor expression and the cancer stem cell (CSC) state. These findings reveal a role for MUC1-C in regulating PBAF, redox balance and lineage plasticity of PC CSC progression. Our findings also uncover involvement of MUC1-C in integrating the PBAF and BAF pathways in cancer.
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